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Germany could use UK to get missiles to Kiev – FM

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron has offered to help Berlin avoid “problems preventing a Taurus delivery” to Ukraine

Germany could accept the UK’s offer to supply missiles to Ukraine in exchange for long-range weapons from Berlin, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told state broadcaster ARD on Sunday. Such a move would effectively negate Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s opposition to providing Kiev with missiles that could reach Moscow or St Petersburg.

Ukraine has long requested the German weapons, but Scholz has been reluctant to supply them out of fear of escalating the hostilities.

Last week, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron hinted that London is willing to barter weaponry. When asked by Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung whether his nation could help Berlin with its problems delivering Taurus missiles, Cameron said London is “determined to work closely with our German partners on this issue as well as on all the other ones to help Ukraine.”

The foreign secretary also said the UK is “ready to look at all options to achieve the maximum effect for Ukraine.”

Commenting on Cameron’s words, Baerbock said that a missile swap could be possible.

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“The ring exchange was… a German invention,” she said, referring to the swap mechanism. “That would be an option,” the minister said, adding that Germany already resorted to this “some time ago.”

Berlin used barter as a form of indirect aid to Kiev when it was still hesitant to supply its Leopard battle tanks to Kiev. At the time, it sent the tanks to other NATO countries such as Slovakia, which then provided Soviet-made tanks to Ukraine out of their own stocks.

Baerbock also said that she personally would be open to direct Taurus deliveries to Ukraine. She made similar statements in summer 2023, when she said Kiev needed longer-range weapons, including the Taurus.

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Germany still undecided on long-range weapons for Ukraine – FM

Scholz remains the key opponent of the move. The chancellor, who faces increased pressure on the issue from MPs and coalition partners, believes that the use of Taurus missiles by Ukrainian forces is impossible without German specialists on the ground. Their use would lead to an escalation and an increased risk of Berlin being dragged into the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, he has said.

According to the chancellor, Kiev could use the German-made missiles, which have a range of up to 500km, to strike targets deep inside Russian territory, potentially provoking a dangerous escalation.

Storm Shadow missiles, which London could supply to Ukraine instead, reportedly have a smaller range. The missile manufacturer, MBDA, describes them as having a range exceeding 250km. Several Western news media outlets, including Reuters, The Guardian and CNN, mentioned missiles with a range of up to 300km in connection with reports about Storm Shadow deliveries to Ukraine.

 

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